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Deaf around the WorldThe Impact of Language$
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Gaurav Mathur and Donna Jo Napoli

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199732548

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732548.001.0001

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A Point Well Taken

A Point Well Taken

On the Typology and Diachrony of Pointing

Chapter:
(p.144) Chapter 4 Response A Point Well Taken
Source:
Deaf around the World
Author(s):

Roland Pfau

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199732548.003.0008

This chapter pulls in cross-linguistic observations about the development and use of pointing, whether as a gesture or a sign, from both communities that use spoken languages (in Laos, Thailand, Australia, and Latin American Spanish) and those that use sign languages (in Denmark, Bali, and Germany). It argues that, if we set aside indexicals indicating plurality or time points, subtle changes in the phonological make-up of the remaining pointing signs will allow us to distinguish between different functions, considering both manual and nonmanual changes (e.g., eye gaze). It also addresses the issue of grammaticalization and shows how the study in chapter 4 adds to our understanding of diachronic change in sign languages.

Keywords:   sign language linguistics, pointing, Denmark Sign Language, Bali Sign Language, German Sign Language, grammaticalization, gestures, diachronic change

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